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Sthira

They're not plants; they're not animals. They are their own Kingdom.

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Y'all depressed folks interested?

 

http://www.nature.com/news/magic-mushroom-drug-lifts-depression-in-first-human-trial-1.19919

 

NATURE

 

Magic-mushroom drug lifts depression in first human trial

 

Researchers' long fight to test psilocybin's safety finally yields fruit.

 

Zoe Cormier

17 May 2016

 

Magic mushrooms are taken for their psychedelic effects, but end up improving depression treatment.

 

A hallucinogenic drug derived from magic mushrooms could be useful in treating depression, the first safety study of this approach has concluded.

 

Researchers from Imperial College London gave 12 people psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms. All had been clinically depressed for a significant amount of time — on average 17.8 years. None of the patients had responded to standard medications, such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or had electroconvulsive therapy.

 

Brain scans reveal how LSD affects consciousness

 

One week after receiving an oral dose of psilocybin, all patients experienced a marked improvement in their symptoms. Three months on, five patients were in complete remission.

 

“That is pretty remarkable in the context of currently available treatments,” says Robin Carhart-Harris, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London and first author of the latest study, which is published in The Lancet Psychiatry1.

 

The equivalent remission rate for SSRIs is around 20%.

 

The study's authors are not suggesting that psilocybin should be a treatment of last resort for depressed patients. “Our conclusion is more sober than that — we are simply saying that this is doable,” says Carhart-Harris. “We can give psilocybin to depressed patients, they can tolerate it, and it is safe. This gives us an initial impression of the effectiveness of the treatment.”

 

Drug problems

 

Demonstrating the safety of psilocybin is no small task. Magic mushrooms are categorized as a Class A illegal drug in the United Kingdom — the most serious category, which also includes heroin and cocaine.

 

The ethics committee that granted approval for the trial was so concerned that trial volunteers could experience delayed onset psychotic symptoms that it requested a three-month follow-up on the subjects.

 

“The study result isn’t the remarkable part — it’s the fact that we did it at all.”

 

“This was unprecedented,” says neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt at Imperial, who is senior author of the study.

 

It took 32 months between having the grant awarded and dosing the first patient, says Nutt. By comparison, it took six months “to get through the machinations” for his team’s previous studies using the equally illegal drugs LSD and MDMA, he says.

 

Ayahuasca psychedelic tested for depression

 

“Every interaction — applying for licenses, waiting for licenses, receiving the licenses, applying for contracts for drug manufacture, on and on — involved a delay of up to two months. It was enormously frustrating, and most of it was unnecessary,” says Nutt. “The study result isn’t the remarkable part — it’s the fact that we did it at all.”

 

Scientists at the Heffter Research Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, have been investigating how psilocybin could be used to alleviate depression and anxiety in people with terminal cancer, but this is the first study to look specifically at how psilocybin could be used to treat depression alone.

 

The World Health Organisation calls depression “the leading cause of disability worldwide”. But effective therapies are hard to find. Searching for new treatments, researchers have looked to potent and quirky alternatives such as ketamine and ayahuasca, both of which have shown promise in clinical trials.

 

“It’s worth noting that we have not developed any new treatments which are widely used since the 1970s for depression, despite the fact that this is the major public-health problem in the Western world and middle-income countries,” says Glyn Lewis, who studies psychiatric disorders at University College London.

 

How club drug ketamine fights depression

 

Particularly interesting, he says, is the fact that psilocybin seems to take effect with a single dose, unlike some current medications for depression that must be taken daily.

 

“This study is simply asking: is this interesting enough to pursue further as a treatment for depression?” says Lewis. “My own judgement is that yes, it is.”

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I pined, and the wild mushroom faeries responded: I met some cool Romanians who go wild shroomin in my metro.

 

"Americans are so afraid of mushrooms," she said, "afraid of poison. So we have the city to ourselves for wild mushroom harvesting. We carry cotton mushroom bags wherever we go, just in case"

 

Next rain storm and post harvest, I'll post some shroom pix here and maybe we can learn something about how to pick and enjoy the delicious wild fungi existing right under our feet.

 

"Picking wild mushrooms is like picking fruit off a tree," she said, "it doesn't kill the mushroom beneath the exposed cap and stem."

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Sthira,

 

I'd be careful with picking and eating wild mushrooms. I was briefly a member of the Western PA Mushroom Club, which is a surprisingly large and active organization. I wanted to learn how to distinguish between edible and poisonous wild mushrooms, so I joined and participated in one of their weekend mushroom hunts in a nearby wooded park. There were about 30 of us who spend several hours scouring the park for interesting mushroom and fungus species. We collected them all and brought them back for the "experts" to identify and classify as edible or not. I was sorely disappointed. Despite the 20+ years of experience with wild mushrooms, very few of the experts would make definitive statements about any of the samples we brought back. It was all statements like:

 

This one looks like an X, and if it were it would be edible, in fact quite tasty. Of course it could also be a Y variety, in which case it would make you very sick. If it were me, I wouldn't take the chance of eating it.

 

They said the cues that distinguish between edible and poisonous mushrooms can be quite subtle. I ended up dumping virtually all of the many interesting mushrooms I'd collected, and never went back for another event. I've stuck with white button and portobello 'shrooms from the grocery store ever since. 

 

Have you or others been successfully picking, identifying and eating wild mushrooms for an extended period without mishap?

 

--Dean

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Thanks for the wisdom, Dean. These two are def not mycologists, just a couple of Romanian hippies, but they do sell some of their harvests at local farmer's markets and haven't had any poison problems to date. But if I fall silent due to Romania-guided moarte subită dureroasă, then bye bye Sthira.

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Really interesting article in the Guardian on the mind-expanding power of ayahuasca. Anybody (Sithra) ever tried it?

 

There is a vegan all-inclusive wellness center in Costa Rica called Finca De Vida (Farm of Life) where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables from the trees and garden. It's really inexpensive, only $60-80/day. They don't offer it themselves, but the place next door offers ayahuasca ceremonies to visitors. It's not the kind of vacation my wife would enjoy, or even consider, but someday I hope to make it there. Below is a video tour of Finca De Vida by one of my food & gardening heroes, John Kohler. The first video is very recent, and by the owner of the center, giving you a flavor for what their mission is.

 

--Dean

 

 

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Have you or others been successfully picking, identifying and eating wild mushrooms for an extended period without mishap?

 

I'm a long time mushroom grower, and also have an interest in wild mushrooms, but like most Americans, I'm paranoid about eating wild mushrooms.  There are a couple of species that are easy to identify, and have no poisonous "look-alikes".  One of those is laetiporus, commonly known as chicken of the woods, and yes, it really does taste like chicken! It can be used as a chicken substitute in any recipe, makes for an awesome vegan chicken soup.  It also has interesting medicinal properties, as do all edible mushrooms.  As the wiki article notes - some people still react badly to it, you have to pick them fresh and thoroughly cook them (as you should do with all mushrooms).  Here is my son with one we found in the woods, I harvested 5-10 pounds from this fallen oak tree:

chickenofthewoods.jpg

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Really interesting article in the Guardian on the mind-expanding power of ayahuasca. Anybody (Sithra) ever tried it?

 

There is a vegan all-inclusive wellness center in Costa Rica called Finca De Vida (Farm of Life) where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables from the trees and garden. It's really inexpensive, only $60-80/day. They don't offer it themselves, but the place next door offers ayahuasca ceremonies to visitors. It's not the kind of vacation my wife would enjoy, or even consider, but someday I hope to make it there.

 

That sounds amazing, I've always wanted to go to Costa Rica.  Not sure the wife would be into it either.  I'm envisioning an ayahuasca ceremony with you and Sthira, turning into "The Hangover"  ;)  Oddly enough, I am immune to the psychotropic effects of DMT.  I corresponded with Dr. Rick Strassman about this long ago.  He conducted government-approved and funded clinical research on DMT at the University of New Mexico and found that even when intravenously administering pure, lab grade DMT, 5% of subjects were immune to its effects (dosage didn't make a difference either).

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Gordo,

That "Chicken-of-the-woods" looks amazing! I'll have to keep my eye out for one while hiking in the woods. Are they always so yellow/reddish? I've seem mushroom growths on old trees that look similar, but are whiter. Perhaps the white ones are older / more mature?

Regarding Finca De Vida, I too think it looks amazing. I hesitate to even suggest it, but would you our anyone else be interested in a CR Society mini-retreat to Costa Rica sometime? Perhaps over this winter, or next?

I'd love to visit Costa Rica and Finca De Vida, but don't want to go on my own and I don't think my wife would want to go. If there is enough interested, I'd definitely love to meet up with a few folks there.

Right now round-trip flights from Pittsburgh to Costa Rica are only $239.

It should be a fun and inexpensive way of seeing a very exotic part of the world. Sthira, Gordo, others, how about it?

--Dean

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Count me in!  (My wife probably WOULD like to go -- our best family vacation ever was at Pura Vida, a great yoga retreat in Costa Rico.)

 

:)xyz

 

  --  Saul

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Wonderful Saul!

 

I'd love to see you again, and to meet your wife. Perhaps we could continue the discussion we started in the cab in Tuscon about how bad you think whole grains are for health, at least relative to vegetables!

 

Maybe I'll fork off a new thread to see if others are interested in a mini-CR retreat in Costa Rica, since it's likely not everyone is following this thread.

 

--Dean 

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I'm definitely interested, that's a great airfare you found too.  Surprisingly, my wife was very enthusiastic about the idea and immediately wanted to book a flight ;)

We should figure out (ask the retreat host) what time of year has the best or most interesting fresh produce.  That said, my wife is a teacher and can really only go if/when school is not in session (they have breaks around major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years), a "spring break" usually around Easter time, and Summer off).

 

Regarding the chicken of the woods mushroom - you only want to harvest and eat them when they look like they do in the picture, as they age they lose their color and go bad.  You may well have seen one that was past its prime or it could have been another species.  One great property of chicken of the woods is that it freezes exceptionally well (unlike most other mushrooms).

Edited by Gordo

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Gordo,

 

I'm definitely interested, that's a great airfare you found too.  Surprisingly, my wife was very enthusiastic about the idea and immediately wanted to book a flight ;)

 

Cool! As far as I'm concerned, you me and Saul form a critical mass, and I'd definitely be up for it if we can find a date that works for all of us. Perhaps you and I can gang up on Saul while your wives go shopping ☺. Just kidding. There is clearly no shopping anywhere near Finca de Vida. 

 

I'm going to start a thread about the idea of a CR mini-retreat in CR (Costa Rica ☺), and ping Sthira directly about it. I'm a bit worried that we haven't heard from him in a while. I hope he hasn't fasted himself to the point of disappearing!

 

--Dean

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